Intel is bringing the power of its 13th-gen desktop CPUs down to laptops — all 24 cores worth. At CES today, Intel unveiled the Core i9-13980HX, the pinnacle of its mobile lineup. It features 24 cores (a combination of 8 Performance cores and 16 Efficient cores) and a boost speed of a whopping 5.6GHz. It's the continuation of Intel's high performance HX line, which debuted last year as a way to bring more power to beefier laptops. The company claims the new Core i9 CPU is 11 percent faster than last year's top-end 12900HK when it comes to single-threaded tasks, and it's 49 percent faster for multithreaded work (intensive tasks like encoding video and 3D rendering).
Intel's 13th-gen HX lineup scales all the way down to the Core i5-13450HX, which offers 10 cores (6P, 4E) and up to 4.5Ghz boost speeds. Basically, if you're hankering for more performance and don't mind a hit to battery life, there should be an HX chip within your budget. The rest of Intel's 13th-gen lineup looks noteworthy, as well. The P series chips, which are meant for performance ultraportables, will reach up to 14 cores, while the low-power U-series CPUs top out at 10 cores (2P, 8E) with the i7-1365U.
We weren't too impressed with Intel's previous P-series CPUs on laptops like the XPS 13 Plus — the performance gains seemed negligible for most tasks, while the battery life hit was massive. Hopefully Intel has made some improvements with its new lineup. The company also claims select 13th-gen chips will offer VPU (Vision Processing Unit) AI accelerators, which can help offload tasks like background blurring during video calls. The lack of a VPU was one major downside to the Intel-equipped Surface Pro 9 (and the one major advantage for the Arm model), so it'll be nice to see some sort of AI acceleration this year.
Another pleasant surprise: New low-end chips. Intel quietly killed its Pentium and Celeron branding last year — now we've learned that they've been replaced with new N-series chips, simply dubbed Intel Processor and Intel Core i3. These chips are mainly focused on education and other entry-level computing markets, subsequently they're only equipped with E-cores. Intel says its quad-core N200 chip offers 28 percent better application performance and 64 percent faster graphics than the previous-gen Pentium Silver N6000. Bumping up to the 8-core i3 N-305 adds an additional 42 percent in application performance and 56 percent faster graphics. Sure, we all want a 24-core laptop, but better low-end chips have the potential to help kids and other users who don't need a boatload of power.
Aside from laptops, Intel also roundup out its 13th-gen desktop CPU lineup at CES. They'll still reach up to 24 cores like the enthusiast-level K series chips, but they'll "only" go up to 5.6GHz boost speeds, instead of 5.8Ghz. The company says they're 11 percent faster in single-threaded performance and up to 34 percent faster when it comes to multi-threaded tasks. The 13th-gen desktop chips will also be compatible with 600 and 700-series motherboards, and they'll work with either DDR5 or DDR4 memory, making them decent upgrades for modern Intel systems.